Indian bitter melon ( Karela)
may harbour breast cancer cure
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Fruits and vegetables
An extract from bitter melon, a vegetable
common in India and known as 'karela' in Hindi, helps trigger a chain of events
that kills breast cancer cells and prevents them from multiplying, claims an
Indian-origin researcher at Saint Louis University.
Ratna Ray, PhD., professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis
University and lead researcher, said she was surprised that the extract from the
bitter melon she cooks in stir fries inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.
"To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the effect of bitter
melon extract on cancer cells," Ray said. "Our result was encouraging. We have
shown that bitter melon extract significantly induced death in breast cancer
cells and decreased their growth and spread."
The expert decided to study the bitter melon extract's impact on breast cancer
cells because research by others have shown the substance lowers blood sugar and
Ray conducted her research using human breast cancer cells in vitro - or in a
controlled lab setting.
"There have been significant advances in breast cancer treatment, which have
improved patient survival and quality of life. However women continue to die of
the disease and new treatment strategies are essential," Ray said.
"Cancer prevention by the use of naturally occurring dietary substances is
considered a practical approach to reduce the ever-increasing incidence of
cancer. Studying a high risk breast cancer population where bitter melon is
taken as a dietary product will be an important area of future research," Ray
She cautioned against seeing bitter melon extract as a miracle cure for breast
"Bitter melon is common in China and India, and women there still get breast
cancer," Ray said.
( Courtesy: ANI )